Archive for the ‘medicine’ Category

Zimbabwe: Riot Police Charge into Doctors and Nurses Protesting Health System

December 3, 2008

Humanity seems turned upside down when riot police attack doctors and nurses during a cholera outbreak…But this is Zimbabwe today….

****

Riot police charged into a group of doctors and nurses protesting Zimbabwe‘s deepening economic and health crisis, eyewitnesses said Wednesday as deaths rose sharply from a cholera epidemic blamed on collapsing infrastructure.

The witnesses said officers in downtown Harare ran into a march of doctors and nurses — some in uniform — who fled the police charge. A few blocks away, police stopped teachers trying to join the same protest and at least six people were taken away in police trucks, according to the witnesses, who declined to give their names for fear of official retribution.

The unions are joining a mass movement to press the government to respond to the worsening crises.

Men in the blue uniforms of paramilitary police armed with rifles were seen positioned atop several high-rise bank headquarters Wednesday.

On Monday, soldiers went on a rampage after they were unable to withdraw wages from banks, which have been short of cash as a result of Zimbabwe’s economic meltdown.

Zimbabwe’s state newspaper said quoted defense minister Sydney Sekeramayi as saying that rogue elements in the country were trying to incite violence against the government.

He said the coincidence of Monday’s incident and the call for protests by unions and civil rights organizations “raises a lot of questions” and that any unlawful demonstrations would not be tolerated.

The United Nations said that deaths from the cholera epidemic had risen to 565, with 12,546 people infected. The government had been reporting 473 cholera deaths since August, and a total of 11,700 people infected as of Monday.

The nationwide outbreak of the waterborne disease is blamed on collapsing water treatment plants and broken sewage pipes.

Zimbabwe has been paralyzed since disputed elections in March. President Robert Mugabe and the opposition are wrangling over a power-sharing deal.

The country is suffering from the world’s highest inflation and Zimbabweans face daily shortages of food and other basic goods. Many hospitals and clinics have been forced to shut their doors because of a lack of drugs and medicines.

On Wednesday, water supplies were restored to parts of Harare after authorities turned off the taps for three days after saying they had run out of purifying chemicals.

Zimbabwe’s government is cooperating with aid agencies to try to stem the spread of cholera but has stopped short of declaring the epidemic a national emergency.

The European Commission said it was providing more than $12 million for drugs and clean water while the International Red Cross was also releasing more funds to deal with the epidemic.

“Cholera is a disease of destitution that used to be almost unknown in Zimbabwe,” Louis Michel, the European Commissioner for Development and Humanitarian Aid said.

Advertisements

Vietnam Envoy In Africa Arrested: Dealing in Banned Rhino

November 19, 2008

Vietnam says it will recall one of its diplomats from South Africa after she was filmed in an apparent illegal purchase of a rhinoceros horn.

A TV crew accompanying government investigators filmed an agent for a gang of poachers meeting the woman outside Vietnam’s embassy in Pretoria.

BBC

They filmed the agent handing the horn to the diplomat, who then took it inside the embassy building.

Vietnam’s Foreign Ministry said it had recalled her to “clarify the affair”.

Vietnam’s ambassador to South Africa, Tran Duy Thi, told the BBC that action had to be taken.

Rhinoceros (file image)
Crushed rhino horn is prized in some traditional East Asian medicine

“She did it right at the front steps of the embassy,” he said. “You see, they filmed the Vietnamese flag as she was doing it – how shameful! There must be a sanction.”

More than 40 rhinos are said to have been killed in South Africa this year.

Conservationists say Vietnamese syndicates are heavily involved in the illegal trade of their horns.

Crushed rhinoceros horn is a prized ingredient in traditional East Asian medicine, where it is used to treat fever and high blood pressure.

Nosorožec

Half of primary-care doctors in survey would leave medicine

November 18, 2008

Nearly half the respondents in a survey of U.S. primary care physicians said that they would seriously consider getting out of the medical business within the next three years if they had an alternative.

By Val Willingham
CNN Medical Producer

The survey, released this week by the Physicians’ Foundation, which promotes better doctor-patient relationships, sought to find the reasons for an identified exodus among family doctors and internists, widely known as the backbone of the health industry.

A U.S. shortage of 35,000 to 40,000 primary care physicians by 2025 was predicted at last week’s American Medical Association annual meeting.

In the survey, the foundation sent questionnaires to more than 270,000 primary care doctors and more than 50,000 specialists nationwide.

Of the 12,000 respondents, 49 percent said they’d consider leaving medicine. Many said they are overwhelmed with their practices, not because they have too many patients, but because there’s too much red tape generated from insurance companies and government agencies.

Read the rest:
http://www.cnn.com/2008/HEALTH/11/17/primary.care.
doctors.study/index.html

China Recalls Product Suspected As Cause of Liver Damage

November 12, 2008

China has ordered a hemorrhoid medicine off pharmacy shelves over fears the capsules were to blame for liver problems, state media reported on Wednesday.

The State Food and Drug Administration (SFDA) demanded the nationwide recall of the “Zhixue” capsules made by Vital Pharmaceutical Holdings Ltd in southwest China, Xinhua news agency reported.

Twenty-one people across the country suffered “liver problems” after taking the medicine in past months, and another 14 reported other problems, Xinhua reported.

But the notice posted on the SFDA website (www.sfda.gov.cn) on Tuesday said investigators were still trying to establish whether the pills caused the illness.

“A link between the Zhixue capsules and the liver damage cannot be ruled out,” said the notice. “More research needs to be done on the mechanism of occurrence,” it said.

Chinese-made products, including medicines, have been beset by flaws and toxins that have alarmed consumers at home and abroad. The country’s milk supply was at the heart of the latest scandal, over the unlawful use of the industrial chemical melamine, blamed for the deaths of four children.

Vital Pharmaceuticals has suspended production of the pills, and retailers and consumers have been asked to return them, said the official notice.

There was no mention in the report or notice of any of the pills being exported.

(Reporting by Chris Buckley; Editing by Ken Wills from Reuters)

Physician prolific at writing prescriptions

March 30, 2008

By Tim Carpenter
Topeka Capital-Journal
March 27, 2008

Stephen Schneider knew the high volume of drug overdoses among his clinic patients was attracting the wrong kind of attention.A piece of the proof emerged in 2006 while Schneider underwent questioning by attorney Larry Wall, who filed a malpractice lawsuit against the physician on behalf of a deceased patient. The interrogation was lengthy and, at times, heated. But the owner of the high-traffic, pain-management clinic was ready.
.

“Have patients died at the clinic?” Wall asked.

“Upon advice of counsel,” Schneider replied, “I assert my Fifth Amendment rights.”

“Have you experienced overdoses at the clinic where a patient would receive an injection of narcotic drugs and they would become comatose?”

“Upon advice of counsel, I assert my Fifth Amendment right.”

In all, Schneider invoked his privilege to avoid self-incrimination 352 times in that deposition. Linda Schneider, his wife and business manager of the clinic south of Wichita, raised the same constitutional shield 281 times in a deposition with Wall.

The Kansas Board of Healing Arts, which regulates medical professionals, was also on the Schneiders’ trail. The agency confirmed instances of negligence in 2004, 2005 and 2006 and filed a disciplinary case against Stephen Schneider in May 2006.

“Things were put on a very fast track,” said Mark Stafford, the board’s lead attorney.

Then, the board’s case….

Read the rest:
http://cjonline.com/stories/032808/kan_262505465.shtml

Vietnam military to test bird flu vaccine on humans

March 18, 2008

HANOI (Reuters) – Vietnam, one of the countries hardest-hit by bird flu, will start a human vaccine trial this month, a military medical official said on Tuesday.

A worker injects a duckling with the bird flu vaccine at a duck ...
A worker injects a duckling with the bird flu vaccine at a duck farm following an outbreak of bird flu, in Panyu district of Guangzhou, September 18, 2007. Vietnam, one of the countries hardest-hit by bird flu, will start a human vaccine trial this month, a military medical official said on Tuesday.
REUTERS/Joe Tan 

The official did not give a specific date but said the Health Ministry had approved testing that would last eight months at the Military Medical Academy in Ha Tay province near Hanoi.

“We are going to conduct the tests at the academy, with people joining on a voluntary basis, including students and employees,” said the official, who asked not to be identified in the media.

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20080318/hl_nm/birdflu_
vietnam_vaccine_dc_1

A rooster looks out of a cage at a whole-sale poultry market ...
A rooster looks out of a cage at a whole-sale poultry market in Hatay province, 25 km outside Hanoi June 21, 2007. Vietnam, one of the countries hardest-hit by bird flu, will start a human vaccine trial this month, a military medical official said on Tuesday.REUTERS/Kham/Files

Hearing Seals Fate of Psychiatrist

February 2, 2008

By Sandra G. Boodman
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, February 2, 2008; Page B04

The hearing was entering its 10th hour Thursday night when Arlington County psychiatrist Martin H. Stein learned that his 40-year career as a practicing physician was effectively over.

The Virginia Board of Medicine denied Stein’s petition to reinstate the license he surrendered six years ago for his treatment of 10 patients, among them a 4-year-old whose legs he bound with duct tape.

The three-member panel found that Stein had harmed 17 other patients by over-prescribing sometimes dangerous combinations of drugs, diagnosing nonexistent conditions and engaging in unethical behavior with female patients.

Read the rest:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/02/01/AR2008020103
075.html

Related:
Addicted doctors still practice while in rehab

France is healthcare leader, US comes dead last

January 9, 2008

WASHINGTON (AFP) – France is tops, and the United States dead last, in providing timely and effective healthcare to its citizens, according to a survey Tuesday of preventable deaths in 19 industrialized countries.

The study by the Commonwealth Fund and published in the January/February issue of the journal Health Affairs measured developed countries’ effectiveness at providing timely and effective healthcare.

The study, entitled “Measuring the Health of Nations: Updating an Earlier Analysis,” was written by researchers from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. It looked at death rates….

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20080108/ts_alt_afp/ushealthfrancemortality;_
ylt=AgrM_z7dz7ZFsNZ0BL0WOI2s0NUE

Possible Parkinson’s trigger identified

January 3, 2008

LONDON (Reuters) – A glitch in the way cells clear damaged proteins could be the trigger for the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease, researchers said in a finding that could lead to new treatments for the incurable condition.

The U.S. team focused on a process called autophagy in which cells digest and recycle damaged molecules, including proteins, that develop as cells grow older. This system essentially renews cells to keep them functioning properly.

This mechanism is also important for nerve cells in the brain where defective proteins can kill cells and cause the debilitating symptoms of Parkinson’s, such as tremors, said Ana Maria Cuervo, a cell biologist who led the study.

“We have found in Parkinson’s there are problems in removing abnormal proteins,” said Cuervo of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University.

The finding could potentially lead to drugs to treat the symptoms but not cure the disease, which affects more than a million patients in the United States alone and is marked by the death of brain cells that produce dopamine.

Dopamine is a neurotransmitter, or message-carrying chemical, associated with movement.

Cuervo had previously shown how mutant forms of a protein called alpha-synuclein — found in a tiny percentage of Parkinson’s patients — blocked the breakdown of substances and prevented cells from clearing damaged proteins.

In the study in The Journal of Clinical Investigation on Wednesday, the team showed how in the majority of patients dopamine modifies normal proteins to act like the mutated ones to trigger tremors and other symptoms.

“What we have found is dopamine modifies alpha-synuclein that really resembles the mutation,” Cuervo said. “That is why they have the same symptoms.”

Problems in this process have also been linked with other neurodegenerative conditions such as Alzheimer’s and Huntington’s disease, though the specific mechanisms that cause problems in those conditions are different, she said.

Cuervo said a drug to fix the breakdown in Parkinson’s patients was years away because it would take researchers time to understand fully how the process worked.

“This is not something that is going to lead to a treatment tomorrow,” she said. “The hope is within five years we can get companies to find a drug able to activate this system.”

(Reporting by Michael Kahn; Editing by Julie Steenhuysen and Robert Woodward)

Head Trauma’s Agony: Boxer Is Brain Dead

January 2, 2008

By KWANG-TAE KIM, AP

SEOUL, South Korea – South Korean boxer Choi Yoi-sam, who lost consciousness after winning his WBO intercontinental flyweight title fight last week, has been declared brain dead, a hospital spokesman said Wednesday.Choi was declared brain dead at 1 p.m. (0400 GMT), said Ko Seung-kwan, a spokesman at Asan Medical Center in Seoul. Choi had been in a coma since shortly after winning the fight against Indonesian challenger Heri Amol in Seoul on Dec. 25.

The 33-year-old South Korean was knocked down in the 12th and final round of the bout but got back up and was declared the winner on points before collapsing.

Doctors were scheduled to remove Choi’s organs for transplantation later Wednesday after getting approval from the prosecutors’ office – a legal requirement before organs can be removed – said Ko.

South Korean media reported that Choi said he would donate his organs.

“He has lived a hard life,” South Korea’s Yonhap news agency quoted Oh Soon-hui, Choi’s 65-year-old mother, as saying. “I hope he has gone to a peaceful place.” She could not immediately be reached for comment.

Choi was the WBC light flyweight world champion from Oct. 1999 to July 2002, and fought for the WBA light flyweight world title in Sept. 2004.

South Korea’s boxing commission had no immediate comment.

In 1982, a South Korean boxer died after a match in the United States.

Choi was declared brain dead at 1 p.m. (0400 GMT), said Ko Seung-kwan, a spokesman at Asan Medical Center in Seoul. Choi had been in a coma since shortly after winning the fight against Indonesian challenger Heri Amol in Seoul on Dec. 25.The 33-year-old South Korean was knocked down in the 12th and final round of the bout but got back up and was declared the winner on points before collapsing.

Doctors were scheduled to remove Choi’s organs for transplantation later Wednesday after getting approval from the prosecutors’ office – a legal requirement before organs can be removed – said Ko.

South Korean media reported that Choi said he would donate his organs.

“He has lived a hard life,” South Korea’s Yonhap news agency quoted Oh Soon-hui, Choi’s 65-year-old mother, as saying. “I hope he has gone to a peaceful place.” She could not immediately be reached for comment.

Choi was the WBC light flyweight world champion from Oct. 1999 to July 2002, and fought for the WBA light flyweight world title in Sept. 2004.

South Korea’s boxing commission had no immediate comment.

In 1982, a South Korean boxer died after a match in the United States.